With seemingly no advance warning, the wonderfully retro-looking departure board at Grand Central Terminal is getting replaced as we type. Untapped Cities tour guide Jeremy Wilcox snapped the photo above late morning today. When Penn Station’s Amtrak departure board was replaced, we had the chance to document the step-by-step process. Like Penn Station, the Grand Central Terminal departure board is not actually that old – 21 years old. The replacement is part of a larger capital project for Metro-North, announced in 2017, of about $124 million – of which $8 million goes towards the new digital board.

The company Halmar won the bid to replace Grand Central Terminal’s Public Address and Visual Information System, which includes not only the departures and arrivals board, but also “track indicators, employee monitors and platform displays.” The font on the display is now a sans serif, which is sure to bother the font police. Here is how it looked when the workers were done with the first portion:

Will the new departure boards also be 1 minute off from the actual departure time? It’s a “hack” of sorts that is one of the many secrets of Grand Central that helps get all the passengers safely to their trains in a timely manner. We assume so! And here are photographs of the departure board, as we knew them:

Join us on an upcoming tour of the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal to see the new boards in person and to learn about the many secrets of the famous transportation hub! 

Tour of the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

 Grand Central Terminal

2 Responses
  1. Serenity now serenity now! The old one was so much cooler. What gives? How bout spending money to speed up the trains. If it’s tech you are looking to spend money on, how about extending wifi to the trains.

  2. Erik Baard Reply

    The old one is so much easier on the eyes, figuratively and literally. The aesthetics are blown, and while you see legible info on one side you see glare on the other. It also adds to the damage to our eyes and sleep cycles caused by screen time. Money poorly spent.

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